Since beginning blogging, a number of people have asked me how to start a blog.
After typing all this information in a variety of emails and Facebook messages to friends and strangers, I’ve realize there is an interest in this process among my readers.
So here’s a post for those of you who want to know the nitty-gritty of starting a mom blog (or any blog).
First off, if you’re wanting to start a professional-looking blog, be ready to invest about $250 to get started.
While that may seem like a lot, it’s really a necessary first step to lay the right foundation.
However, if you’re looking for a personal, friends-and-family-only blog with no future ambition of turning it into a business, a free blog will be just fine for you. For this, I’ve found wordpress.com to be the best.
For those of you interested in a quality blog with money-making potential, here’s what you need to do:
1. Purchase web hosting
I use and recommend Dreamhost. They are a reputable hosting company and, in my experience, quite user-friendly with wonderful, personalized support for a non-techy person such as myself. This will cost you about $119 for one year of hosting (or you can purchase 2 years for an additional discount).
You may wonder, “why bother doing this when I can start a free blog so easily?”
There are a few reasons:
- Free blogs strictly limit your opportunities to place advertisements, which you will likely want to do as your blog takes off.
- There are some issues with who actually “owns” the content you publish to a free blog.
- When you decide to get serious about blogging, it’s not easy to switch from a free blog to a self-hosted blog. More than likely you will have to start over, and you don’t want to do that. It is possible to migrate your blog to a new site, but this is a highly-troublesome process. There’s no good way to do it, and you may end up needing professional help, which will be far more expensive than doing it right to begin with.
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Dreamhost will also set you up with your own domain name, also very important for a polished looking blog. This costs about $15 per year and will go far in giving you credibility with your readers and search engines such as Google.
2. Install WordPress
Once you’re squared away with web-hosting and a domain name, you’ll need to install the WordPress infrastructure. This is free through wordpress.org.
Through Dreamhost, all you have to do is click one button, and they will install WordPress onto your site!
3. Select a Theme
Once installed, you’ll need to either hire a web designer or select a pre-designed theme.
While there are many free themes available around the web, it is important to stick with a WordPress Premium Theme. This is where you can expect to spend around $50-$80 more dollars, depending on which theme you select. Fortunately, this is a once-in-a-lifetime cost, unlike web hosting and domain name fees.
Why spend money on a premium theme?
Premium themes, generally speaking, are themes developed by professional web designers with an emphasis on quality. If you choose to go with a free theme, you will potentially be shooting yourself in the foot.
Your pricey web-hosting service will be undermined by a theme that is not well-coded. This will bog down your site and potentially cause many other problems. It also may not display well on mobile devices.
- Are products of quality that usually come coded for “responsive design” (meaning they display well on a variety of devices).
- Are updated by the seller. These updates are included with the purchase price.
- Are user-friendly on the back end.
- Come with customer support.
My theme was purchased from a company called BluChic. Their themes are developed specifically for women and all beautiful.
Once you’ve chosen and purchased a theme, you’ll need to install it and adjust the settings to your liking from your WordPress dashboard.
You can find this at http://www.[yourdomainname].com/wp-admin
4. Other Considerations
The final investment I chose to make from the get go was a PicMonkey.com subscription.
This is an online service where you can easily add text to photos. Title photos such as these are important for sharing your posts on social media, such as on Pinterest or Facebook.
The nice thing about PicMonkey is you can use the site for free with limitations. However, anyone who plans to use it frequently will most likely want to pay the $33 per year for full access.
While I have Adobe Photoshop on my home computer, I find PicMonkey infinitely faster and easier for this purpose. It’s been well worth the investment for me.
5. Additional Resources
When looking to start my blog, I read a number of books on the topic. For me, the best one hands-down was Mom Blogging for Dummies.
There are also some wonderful podcasts out there for bloggers. I especially love How They Blog by Kat Lee. I also purchased and used her Blog Planning Kit as I was getting my bearings on my blog and found it very worthwhile.
Now you know the basics to setting up and launching your very own blog!
Best of luck,
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